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SEA-WATCH e.V. PRESENTS

THE EXPERIMENT

WATCH THE FILM

THE TRUTH

5 INTENSE STORIES -
THE GENUINE FOUNDATION OF THE EXPERIMENT

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THE MIND

EMPATHY IS THE KEY -
A PSYCHOLOGIST EXPLAINS   

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THE BOAT

PROXY -
GERMANS CHANGING PERSPECTIVE   

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THE FILM

EMOTIONS WIN -
A DIRECTOR AND HIS VISION 

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THE SHIFT

A HUMAN LIFE IS PRICELESS, SEA RESCUE IS NOT.
DONATE NOW TO SEA-WATCH.

IT WAS THE BADDEST
DAY OF MY LIFE.

Khadra (18)

My name is Khadra, I am 18 years old. I had to flee from Somalia to Europe by boat. I left my country in May 2016. I came through Ethiopia, Sudan to Libya and finally to Italy. It was early in the morning, 5am. Everything was dark. I felt down for many times. Everybody was running to the boat. I was not able to run, a boy helped me to get to the boat. There were like 300 people, the boat was very small. We were 23 hours on the boat. The weather was not that good. It was so wavy, windy. Everybody was screaming, pregnant women, kids crying everybody was screaming: „We need food. We need something to drink. All I was seeing were the waves of the water, if you look side to side: all water. It was really sad. There was a time when I lost hope, I thought I already died, I thought I never see this world again.

No-one died from our boat. We all got rescued.

TO ME 36 HOURS
WERE LIKE 36 YEARS.

Ali Ahmed (49)

I am Ali Ahmed, originally I am from Sudan. I left Sudan because of civil war in the country and I flea to Libya. After the conflicts started 2011 we don’t have any other choice: we have to pass the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. I passed the sea to Italy 2012. You have to be careful on the boat to keep the balance on the boat. Only few people had a lifejacket. We have to pass the sea to Italy. 6 hours from our journey were good weather. The rest: bad weather. The water was changing. There was a lot of wind and waves. We saw only one color - sky same color, sea the same color. People started crying, some people laughing, they got mental. You are not in your mind. We spend like 36 hours in the sea. 36 hours in danger. To me 36 hours where like 36 years. Really you can see all your life. Cause you think you are going to die.

All of us got rescued.

ON THE BOAT, THAT LEFT THE DAY BEFORE OURS, NOBODY SURVIVED.

Muhannad (26)

I am Muhannad, I am 26 years old. I am from Syria. I left my country 2013. The first trip was from Syria to Lebanon. From where me, my mother and my little brother went to Egypt. Then to Libya, Tripoli. 2014 we entered the boat. At 1am in the morning we ran onto the beach. Then with a small boat to a larger one. The sea was clear, no waves. 17 to 18 hours nothing but water. My first thought: We’ll never get to Europe. After 18 hours we were still in Libyan waters. We stayed another day on the boat. That’s my last hour, my last day, I thought. We were around 400 people on the boat, many children, no water. I can’t really describe the cries of the children. It was cold in March, we didn’t have much clothes. Many were sea-sick. Today everybody says we’re Travelling, we Travelled in a small boat to Europe. It was unbelievable. If nobody saves us, we won’t get to Europe. On the boat that left the day before ours, nobody survived.

On my boat, everybody survived.

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET TO EUROPE?
THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE.

Merhawi (20)

My Name is Merhawi, I am from Eritrea and I am 20 years old. I left Eritrea end of 2014. At that time I was 15 years old. First I escaped to Sudan, and then continued my journey to Libya. With little boats they brought us to a larger boat. We had to climb up a rope. When I got onto the boat, I thought I won’t survive. I am going to die anyways. We were around 300 people. We were not allowed to talk, neither to move, as we had to keep the boat balanced. All hope was gone. Almost everybody on board lost hope. People were crying, many were praying… it was hell. How am I supposed to get to Europe? That’s impossible. We travelled for one day and one night. The weather was good, but the mood wasn’t. At night, it was really cold. My hands were numb, they felt like stone. I was just waiting for the boat to sink. I saw the boat shaking every minute. It will flip! And then I am done. You either die or you survive. Everyone on my boat survived the journey.

Everybody was saved.

THERE ARE MORE
STORIES EVEN WORSE
THAN MINE.

Saher (30)

My name is Saher, I am from Syria. I am 30 years old. I started my journey in August 2015. I escaped from Turkey to Europe by boat. We had to swim to the boat. It was really scary especially for people who can’t swim. The boat was 9 meters long, made for 40 people, we were 52. The engine was made for a boat of 2 people. For that boat, even a small wave could damage it. Everybody was fighting for himself to survive. I was not feeling my legs, I couldn’t feel them after a short while. No room to move a single finger, no room to move an inch. The big lie was, people telling us the trip will take half an hour. Well I was feeling so much hope when we started. After we started I lost that hope. I keep praying, I kept praying the whole time. When you have nothing to lose you are willing to do crazy stuff to find life again. For me it was finding a life. Being in the boat was really the worse ever moment that I have in my entire life which I can’t forget. And there are more stories even worse than mine.

Getting rescued was a light in all that darkness.

THE CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE IS FUNDAMENTALLY IMPORTANT.

Michael Thiel (59)

My name is Michael Thiel. I’ve been working as a psychologist for more than 30 years and as such guiding the experiment. My work focuses on coping with anxiety and stress. I noticed that the issue of rescue missions in the Mediterranean seems to be no longer newsworthy, as media coverage reduced significantly. And this is why this experiment is of such profound importance: We’re attempting to simulate a situation in which participants experience feelings that are somewhat similar but only a fragment of the real situation to enable the viewer to develop and feel empathy. As this experiment uses participants of our own cultural background and ethnicity, I believe the viewer will find it easier to identify with the participants. And this is the core of the experiment: re-enable the access to empathy. The change of perspective is fundamentally important to this experiment: Meaning we can easier understand a refugee’s situation if we’ll see someone like us in a similar situation. And when the participants understand it, it’s easier for the viewer to understand. This experiment can truly reveal what really makes us human: The ability to feel empathy.

CONSIDERING YOU'VE BEEN ON THE WATER FOR DAYS: UNIMAGINABLE.

THE LONGER YOU SAT IN THAT BOAT, THE MORE YOU REALIZED HOW BAD THAT COULD BE.

I'VE GOTTEN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING FOR WHAT KIND OF EMERGENCY SITUATION YOU'RE IN, TO TAKE SUCH A BIG RISK.

YOU FELT LONELY AND ALONE.

I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITH MY KIDS.

THE LONGER YOU SAT IN THAT BOAT, THE MORE YOU REALIZED HOW BAD THAT COULD BE.

THE LONGER YOU SAT IN THAT BOAT, THE MORE YOU REALIZED HOW BAD THAT COULD BE.

I'VE GOTTEN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING FOR WHAT KIND OF EMERGENCY SITUATION YOU'RE IN, TO TAKE SUCH A BIG RISK.

YOU FELT LONELY AND ALONE.

I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITH MY KIDS.

MOVE PEOPLE THROUGH THE HEART INSTEAD OF THROUGH THE MIND.

Skye Fitzgerald (49)

My name is Skye Fitzgerald. I’m the director of „LIFEBOAT and also of „LIFEBOAT - The Experiment. The project „LIFEBOAT - The Experiment is one of the best examples and a powerful approach to move people through the heart instead of through the mind. If we see ourselves in the refugee experience and try to put ourselves literally on that journey than its gonna impact us on a completely different way. In this simulation we see approximately 40 Europeans in a wave-pool undergo the smallest taste of what it is like to take a journey across the Mediterranean Sea. We filmed this whole process carefully under very controlled circumstances and what we achieved - I believe - is fundamentally profound: we saw people coming to understand what it’s like to attempt an incredibly dangerous crossing for just a small portion of the time it actually takes. The experiment shows people beginning to think about it in a different way, talk about in a different way. Those conversations and dialogues will go on for days, weeks, month, maybe even years. This experiment is going to be a part of a dialogue that turns the tide. We begin to think about how to deal with this crisis in a more significant and meaningful way.

THE EXPERIMENT

Contrary to public perception, the Mediterranean remains the deadliest border in the world even in 2019: one in 10 people dies attempting to flee across the central Mediterranean. Would that also be the case if the shipwrecked people were white Germans?

Sea-Watch is a non-profit sea rescue organization that has been involved in the rescue of more than 37,000 people since 2015. In cooperation with refugees who have reached Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, an experimental set-up was designed and conducted in Germany: under controlled conditions, a simulation was run, based on a boat journey across the Mediterranean Sea . Under circumstances as close to reality as possible, an attempt was made to experience the strains and dangers associated with such an escape. LIFEBOAT - The Experiment" is the result.

The experimental set-up attempts to have participants experience for oneself the necessity of rescue at sea, which today is a responsibility only assumed by aid organisations such as Sea-Watch, which are financed by donations. Even if "LIFEBOAT - The Experiment" at most gives a hint of the uncertainty experienced by refugees really crossing the Mediterranean Sea, a change of perspective is possible. "LIFEBOAT - The Experiment" was carried out pro bono by all participating service providers. No donation funds were spent in the production. The experiment can create empathy and regard for those affected by Europe's deadly border policy.

The experiment enables a mindshift on a much-discussed issue and a personal, human perspective one of the biggest crises of our time.

Download Press kit here

and support Sea-Watch e.V.

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